Living in the downtown core of this little bedroom community, walking everywhere to provide for my daily needs I have had ample opportunity to observe the gradual development and redevelopment of the local environment. Old buildings, some not more than thirty years old, have been demolished. Some defunct, boarded over apartment buildings of wood and stucco still sit languishing in their derelict decrepitude
. An older down-town park has been refurbished, but not in any stellar aesthetic way with arcing concrete walkways leading walkers around and nowhere in particular and hard iron benches plunked down alongside to give a weary walker respite from treading the brutal hard surfaces but not from the blazing sun. At the entrance of the park, just off the main downtown street, a horrid set of fountains have been buried in corners of the park. These are the most unfriendly of water features. The design is Conrete Brutal and resembles uncannily a set of bidets radiating from a backdrop made of tempered glass to echo visually the mountain ranges which loom over our fair municipality. No one tends to linger there to soak their weary feet, or to wave their hands through the cooling waters, except perhaps street people at night, most likely performing their ablutions in the dark. The water jets, which burble to no more than 18 inches above the concrete bidets has been dyed a sickly turqoise. Not exactly inviting to put the hand or foot into this water, that is if first one does not skin oneself on the geometric hardness of the fountain surround. A Fountain of Trevi it ain’t.
There has been road construction a block and a half from my apartment building. This has been in process for about twelve months. Because of all the concrete surfaces in this neighbourhood, construction noise has been steady and unremitting. The scant green sward left as buffer still gives me privacy if not respite from the constant noise of vehicular traffic and earthmoving and paving machinery. Some days I wish I were going deaf, although I do crank up some opera to help drown out the noises.
The concrete skin here spreads and crowds out natural growth. Despite this endless encroachment nature asserts itself with its guerilla seeding of weeds in the slightest cracks. On my daily walks I marvel at this perseverence and at its peculiar manifestation of beauty.